DVD
Female Yakuza Tale

Starring: Reiko Ike, Makoto Ashikawa, Arumi Kuri and Meika Seri
Fabulous Films / Fremantle Home Entertainment
RRP: 15.99
FHED1990
Certificate: 18
Available 28 May 2007


Having survived the bloodbath that avenged her father's death Ocho Inoshika returns home only to be abducted, due to a case of mistaken identity, by a local gang who, following an unsuccessful internal examination for drugs which she is not carrying, frame her for a series of local murders. Branded as the Crotch-Gouge (you don't want to know) serial killer she must use her every resource, usually sex and violence, to revenge herself against the gang and find the real Crotch-Gouge killer before it is too late...

The directorial reigns for Female Yakuza Tale (1973) were passed on to Teruo Ishii, another master of the exploitation genre. The film was written by Ishii and Masahiro Kakefuda. Bizarrely enough the film failed to gain any awards but did prove popular with the sex and samurai audience, further cementing Reiko Ike's reputation.

For this second outing, plot density has been reduced - I think it was confusing the audience - as has the violence in favour for more erotica. I'm still bemused at the fact that the film is so well shot, maybe I'm more used to American exploitation film which seem to gain their cult status from the poor level of craft demonstrated.

Even if you don't like the concept or content you'd be hard pressed to fault the film on its cinematography, costumes or sets. Ok some of the acting sucks big time and not in a good way, though Reiko Ike still can hold her acting head high. It is a surprise that she was never able to make the transition into mainstream films.

Visually the sequel is more confused than the previous movie Sex and Fury. The original film was set at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century and whilst there are elements of nineteen hundreds Japan in Female Yakuza Tale there is also a large injection of seventies styles and motifs. This does have the effect of taking away some of the visual style of the first film but also, at times, makes for a more colourful experience.

Let's be honest, these are no great works of art, and whilst the PR blurb would have you believe that this is one of the films which inspired Kill Bill - you'd think that poor Tarantino never had an original idea in his head - it will appeal to the same crowd.

Despite its obvious limitations, like, eh, plot and acting, Female Yakuza Tale is quite an interesting piece of kitsch schlock. Not as funny as Sex and Zen (1992), but if blood, babes and boobs are a good night in for you then you've just discovered a superior product from the genre, though ultimately not as good as the first film in the series.

Once again the film is in Japanese with optional subtitles. Extras on the disc consist of the original cinema trailer and posters as well as a text piece on Ike and a stills gallery.

Charles Packer

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